Our Researchers Join Top Engineers Exploring Next-Gen Robotics and more

Last July, the think tank, McKinsey Global Institute, named five “game changers” or catalysts that – if seized - will reignite growth in the U.S. economy, generating hundreds of billions of dollars by 2020 and create millions of jobs.

The report emphasized the need for industry-academic-government research collaborations to push the economy forward and seize opportunity. In September, 83 of the nation’s top, young engineers from academia, industry and government will dig deeper into these and other topics during the U.S. Frontiers of Engineering symposium, an annual event held by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). The researchers, chosen from about 300 applicants, include two Xerox scientists: Nathan Gnanasambandam, and Tolga Kurtoglu.

Held September 11-13 at the National Academies' Beckman Center in Irvine, Calif., the symposium will cover developments in four areas:
  • Next-generation robotics
  • Frontiers in materials for batteries
  • Shale gas and oil
  • Technologies for the heart
“This symposium reflects innovation at its best – top researchers, collaboration and focus on areas that can improve lives and the health of our nation,” said Steve Hoover, chief executive officer of PARC, a Xerox Company. “Our researchers work on the most promising technology areas and then partner with commercial companies and government organizations to create game-changing innovations. This is a great opportunity for Nathan and Tolga to share and bring back forward-looking ideas.”

Researchers head to prestigious symposium

Nathan Gnanasambandam Nathan Gnanasambandam, a senior research scientist at PARC, A Xerox Company, works on projects related to scalable social analytics. Joining Xerox as an intern in 2005 and then a researcher in 2007 at the Xerox research center in Webster, NY, he’s explored several areas of quantitative modeling including behavioral and contextual profiling, financial risk modeling, text and graph mining, resource allocation and Big Data analytics.
He holds a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University with a specialization in Operations Research. He received a Master of Science (with honors) in Physics from the Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS Pilani) in India, a Master of Science in Computer Science and a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Binghamton. His undergraduate degree is in Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering (from BITS Pilani).

While at Penn State, Nathan participated in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Ultra-Log project, which focused on creating an agent-based logistics planning and execution information system for the modern battlefield. Nathan’s work focused on queuing models applied to agent-based systems. Prior to Penn State, his industrial experience includes working at IBM and Universal Instruments Corporation.

Nathan won the Rochester Business Journal's Young Engineer of the Year Award in 2010. He is an Industrial Advisory Board member with the National Science Foundation Center for Autonomic Computing of which Xerox is a founding member. He has won a best paper award in the Industrial Engineering Research Conference for his work in resource allocation algorithms. He has two patents, 41 invention disclosures and over 28 publications in conferences and journals. He has served on several IEEE and ACM conference committees and has participated in panels for government agencies. Nathan has served on two doctoral thesis committees and currently advises three graduate students through the Xerox Open Innovation effort.

Tolga Kurtoglu, Tolga Kurtoglu, who heads PARC's Integrated System Lab, specializes in the design, development, theory and methodology of complex systems and applied intelligence for engineering design automation and optimization. His research spans the areas of development of prognostic and health management technologies, model-based systems engineering, automated reasoning, knowledge and information management and risk and reliability-based design.
Prior to joining PARC, Tolga led several research projects at NASA’s Ames Research Center where he developed computational tools for designing, analyzing and operating complex human-machine systems with the goal of preventing fault events and minimizing their effects throughout system lifecycle. He also has worked as the systems engineer lead at Dell Corporation where he managed the mechanical development of various high-end server products.

Tolga received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.S. from Carnegie Mellon University -- both in Mechanical Engineering. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles and papers in leading journals and conferences in his field, and regularly serves in organizational leadership roles for the ASME, AIAA, AAAI, Design Society, and Prognostics and Health Management Society professional communities. Tolga received the IEEE Best Professional Paper Award at the Prognostics and Health Management Conference (2008), NASA Ames Technical Excellence Award (2009), and Best Design Award in “Dexterous Robot Hand” Design Competition (1999).

“The USFOE symposium is the perfect network for these talented, early-career engineers to develop those personal and professional relationships that will shape their work and ultimately impact our world,” said NAE President C. D. Mote, Jr.

Indo-American Frontier of Engineering Symposium taps Xerox researcher

Vladimir Kozitsky In May, another Xerox researcher, Vladimir Kozitsky, attended a similar program in Mysore, India held by the NAE for 60 young engineers. The Indo-American Frontiers of Engineering held May 19-21 focused on a number of topics including biomaterials, water resource management in the face of climate change and Big Data.
Vladimir joined Xerox at its research center in Webster, NY in June of 2004 after receiving a Master in Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Cornell University. Earlier this year he completed a second Master of Science in Computer Science from the University of Rochester. Recently Vladimir has been working on computer vision and machine learning problems for transportation applications. He leads a project that is developing the Xerox license plate recognition (XLPR) engine. Vladimir holds 11 U.S. patents. While at Xerox Vladimir has worked on novel sensing methods for in-situ measurement of key marking parameters and diagnostic methods for marking systems.

About the National Academy of Engineering

The mission of NAE is to advance the well being of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshalling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology. The NAE is part of the National Academies (along with the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council), an independent, nonprofit organization chartered by Congress to provide objective analysis and advice to the nation on matters of science and technology. More details about the event can be found on their website.